Kerb-crawlers were targeted last night during a major police operation to reduce on-street demand for prostitutes in Bradford.

Dozens of vehicles were stopped in the city’s red light district by officers from Bradford South division’s vice team and the neighbourhood policing team.

Police set up Automatic Number Plate Recognition checks to monitor vehicles coming into the Sunbridge Road and Rebecca Street area.

Since January this year, police in Bradford have issued 188 Acceptable Behaviour Contracts to suspected kerb-crawlers banning them from loitering in the area bounded by City Road, St Michael Street and White Abbey Road.

Detective Inspector Mabs Hussain, from Bradford South CID, said fewer than 30 per cent of those people had returned to the red light district since, adding that the method was a success.

He said: “This operation was designed to help the men and women who have found themselves working on the streets selling their bodies.

“We are determined to demonstrate to known and new kerb-crawlers that we won’t accept what they are doing.”

The operation was welcomed by residents in the area, who have to live with the daily consequences of the sex trade.

Leno Massimo, who bought an apartment in Sunbridge Road without realising the potential problems, said: “It was terrible because you would look out of the window and they would be standing there with the short skirts and so on, then they would come round the back of your apartment and have sex, then leave condoms and needles everywhere. But the police vice team have been fantastic and have made a big difference. It’s so much better now.”

One prostitute, who did not wish to be named, said she worked the streets because of her addiction to heroin, a habit she had tried to kick.

She said: “I know it’s a dangerous thing to do but I need the money. I think it’s good what the police are doing.”

As well as the enforcement side of the operation, police worked with the Drugs Intervention Programme, Together Women’s Project, Bridge Project and Ripple to provide alternative options to sex workers and give them the help they need.

Rokaiya Khan, from the Together Women’s Project, said: “Together Women works with female offenders and women at risk of offending to try and help them turn their lives around.”